Art and social development

Art and social transformation

The book

In 2008, the book “Art and Social Transformation – Knowledge and practices of Crear vale la pena” was published in Argentina; written by Carmen Olaechea and Georg Engeli, and illustrated by Georg.

Crear vale la pena is a civil society organization in Buenos Aires with activities and alliances in Argentina, Latin America and Europe. The book relates the 14 years of its existence and analyzes the main axis of its concepts and work: social transformation, art, communal identity, creativity, and social organization.

Inés Sanguinetti, founder and chairwoman of Crear vale la pena, writes in her foreword to the book:

“For many years, Carmen and Georg have been closely connected with Crear vale la pena and, even more so, with the issues that concern us: art in relation to a social transformation toward a society of equality. In the spirit of this relation, the two have accompanied us on our road, sharing phases of joy and worry, satisfaction for what we have accomplished and openness vis-à-vis the unknown … the two of them together combine a great range of experiences and belongings across sectors and cultures. Therefore we have asked them for a double contribution: that they not only report on the knowledge and practices of Crear vale la pena, but also enter in dialogue with us and the issues that challenge us – we asked that they also present their own view of the reality in which we and our readers live”.

What does this book grant access to?

The book explores the interdependencies between culture, art, and social development on the basis of the case study of Crear vale la pena. We present the fundament of the organization’s conceptual approach, and ask how it materializes in the concrete activities carried out in programs, initiative and the foundation’s own institutional growth. We explain the views of Crear vale la pena, and move on to discuss some fundamental conceptions underlying the organization’s work and civil society in general:

  • Conceptions of social transformation
  • Theoretical fundaments of the role of art in social development
  • Axis of social organization
  • The power of perceptions
  • The creation of spaces and platforms for social encounters and belonging
  • The quest for individual and collective identity.

The biographical access

We relate the institutional development of the organization not only in its historical sequence but also by following the inner logic of the growth: a biography of the intellectual and emotional evolvement, and of the amplification and deepening of the comprehensions.

The poetic access

In poetic texts we tell the stories of young people who, thanks to their work and association with the community of Crear vale la pena, have experienced a profound transformation of their own life.

The action-based access

We present several initiatives and programs that the organization has designed and implemented alone or in collaboration with networks, alliances and other sectors in Latin America and Europe. We explore how the concrete actions do not only manifest but also amplify and deepen the organization’s own orientations and understandings.

The conceptual access

Dedicating oneself to social transformation requires gaining a profound comprehension of the Total of which we all are parts. We explain how Crear vale la pena deals with this complexity and faces the challenge of integrating, in its own work, also the views and visions of players outside its own realm and scope.

The access via challenges

As opposed to changing existing realities, social transformation refers to a future state that, from today’s perspective, can neither be defined nor described. Hence, the driving orientation is not a clear-cut vision of times to come, but a dedication to the unknown and a fundamental confidence in the creative impulses of life. We explore the basic concepts of Crear vale la pena searching for the underlying dimensions of transformation. We ask: which are the suppositions and existential images of life behind these concepts? What do they signify for this organization in particular, civil society en general, and society as a whole? Thus we aim to enter in a dialogue: not only with Crear vale la pena but also with the readers, enabling them to ask such critical questions concerning their own views and visions.

And the images?

Inés Sanguinetti writes in her foreword::

“Georg’s images are not illustrations but a dialogue between two territories: image and word. Not esthetic considerations have motivated us to include images in this book. Rather, Crear vale la pena has always understood itself as a composition of both experiences and images, and continues to do so. Because the entanglement of thought and poetry manifests a characteristic of the quest of Crear vale la pena as well of as of the authors, and hence the images serve a dual purpose: they represent contents – granting also an emotional access to them, and they stimulate imagination so that the reader may reach beyond the representation.”